World Magazine
I remember the Christmas my brother Isaac and I lost the sheep. One was small and white, a tiny plastic lamb no bigger than the baby Jesus figurine. The other was larger, uglier, brownish, with a grouchy face like that one nun in Sister Act . They came with a passel of others—the thoughtful Mary, the bearded Joseph, the tiny strutting chickens, a long-necked goose. And, of course, the angel who came with a tiny hook embedded in the back of its head so you could hang it from the ceiling. To
   
If Thomas Jefferson could be faulted for one thing in composing the Declaration of Independence, it might be his inclusion of the words “the pursuit of happiness” in the text. Happiness is a vapor that cannot be grasped; a temporary feeling based on transitory circumstances akin to the euphoria of a full-on sugar rush. Happiness is good for a time, but it cannot last. Life invariably intervenes. So many seem so unthankful about so much these days. Turn on the TV or read a newspaper
   
Urge your Thanksgiving guests today to say what they are thankful for to God, and who knows, somebody might speak up. But that lackluster response and the awkward looking down at their shoes is only partly their fault—you need to be more creative with the question. Remember what a nonstarter it was when you used to come home from school and your mother said, “How was school?” Here is a suggestion. After the turkey is picked clean and the dishes done and the Scrabble game retired,
   
As people take to the streets over the Ferguson decision, police and protesters recall the 1992 riots
   
City dwellers may no longer make the connection, but Thanksgiving Day has long been associated with harvest time. School children do if they hear the story of Squanto teaching the pilgrims to plant corn. These days, it takes a lot more than a scrap of fish and a kernel of corn to have a successful harvest. It’s Aug. 20, the first day of the corn harvest. Mississippi delta farmer Stephen Pillow has been waiting for this day since the seed went in the ground back in March. “A lot of
   
This article is the 18th in the White House Wednesday series   by The World and Everything in It  looking at potential 2016 candidates for president. Earlier installments profiled Republicans Rick Perry , Bobby Jindal , Paul Ryan ,   Rand Paul , Jeb Bush , Ted Cruz , Chris Christie , Mitt Romney , Rick Santorum , Mike Huckabee , Scott Walker , and John Kasich , and Democrats   Elizabeth Warren , Joe Biden , Andrew Cuomo , Hillary Clinton , Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Bernie Sanders . Mike Pence, Indiana’s
   
Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a reduction in the amount of allowable ozone in the air Americans breathe. The new limit is supposed to improve human health, but opponents say the benefits are exaggerated and the rule will create “massive and disruptive” economic challenges for businesses. “Today, following science and the law, I am proposing to update national ozone pollution standards to clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information,
   
Tragedy strikes people of all races, ethnicities, creeds, nationalities, and socioeconomic levels. The consequences of sin are far-reaching and deeply embedded in us and in the world. While there’s no cure for this disease—even the forgiven suffer from it on this side of heaven—there are ways to dampen its impact. Rather than rattling on about “white privilege” and “injustice” in the aftermath of the Ferguson decision, Christians should share the gospel of Jesus Christ, as
   
Manasseh was a very bad king and Asa was a very good king, but there is more to the story. Asa, the king of Judah (the southern tribe ruled by the descendents of David after the split of Israel into two acrimonious kingdoms back in the day after Solomon), “did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2, ESV). He demolished the altars of foreign gods and he commanded his subjects to keep the laws of God. His godly speech matched his godly deeds: “…
   
Night Two. Overnight protests in Ferguson, Mo., were less violent than on Monday, but angry rioters did torch one police car and vandalize several businesses. Police used tear gas several times throughout the night and arrested 44 protesters. Hundreds more people demonstrated peacefully to call for changes in the way police officers deal with members of the African-American community after officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. A grand jury
   
Federal judges in Mississippi and Arkansas on Tuesday overturned those states’ laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Both judges put their rulings on hold pending appeal. Referendums held in 2004 in both states approved adding the traditional definition of marriage to the states’ constitutions. But Judge Kristine Baker in Arkansas said the law there was discriminatory. “The fact that Amendment 83 was adopted by referendum does not immunize it from federal
   
American Jeffrey Fowle talks about his detention and his decision to hide a Bible in a restaurant bathroom
   
HONG KONG:Overnight, authorities began a crackdown on weeks of peaceful demonstrations to win freedoms from the China-led government—arresting two student leaders and clearing protest camps in the main thoroughfare of Kowloon. GERMANY: The most powerful woman in the world with her “helmet of no-color hair,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel got her start as the daughter of a Protestant minister and an English teacher living in East Germany and perfecting her Russian. A George Packer
   
The state where “everything’s bigger” just made a great big splash in the education world. In a landmark vote influencing the future education of scores of Texas students, the Texas State Board of Education approved new social studies textbooks on Friday after adopting hundreds of pages in last-minute changes and edits. The disputed curriculum sets new standards for U.S. history and other social studies materials—including some 89 textbooks, workbooks, and other study
   
Federal lawsuits filed last week against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill allege improper race-based admissions practices at both universities.  The suits contend race-based affirmative action policies disproportionately discriminate against high-achieving white and Asian-American students. The Harvard lawsuit specifically asserts that the Ivy League university limits the number of Asian-American students it admits every year. The organization
   
With thousands voting, Hope Award goes to youth-oriented ministry
   
Isaiah Berlin foresaw the danger of believing in an earthly paradise
   
Author reveals how close we came to nuclear war
   
Three best-selling novels and a book about storytelling
   
A pastor, lawyer, and author says fields of ministry aren’t confined to church walls 
   
Release of the complete Basement Tapes hints at Bob Dylan’s soul searching
   
Noteworthy new Christmas albums reviewed
   
The ISIS sweep into Iraq hasn’t halted Syria’s three-year nightmare
   
Congressman Frank Wolf has spent more than three decades showing up in far corners of the globe to help the most vulnerable—and the ‘patron saint of unpopular causes’ says he’s not finished 
   
Grand Rapids competition brings judges and the rest of us together
   
Researchers say biobot bugs may one day save the day
   
Houston, Texas
   
Islamic beheadings are, sadly, not a new story 
   
Letters from our readers
   
What happens when we have everything we want?
   
Finding the redemptive in a world of bad news
   
Almost always, it’s a delicate balance
   
   
Dec. 7 Americans have until today to sign up for 2015 health insurance coverage from the government through either Medicare or healthcare exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. Obama administration officials promise a smoother experience on Healthcare.gov this year than in 2013. Dec. 8   Prince William’s trip to the United States will take him to Washington, D.C., where the Duke of Cambridge will participate in a conference against the illegal trade of wildlife parts. Prince
   
President’s abuse of power likely to hold up in the courts, but not to provide promised immigration reforms
   
Approved The Church of England on Nov. 16 voted to begin ordaining female bishops in 2015. The move came 20 years after the Church of England started ordaining female priests, who now make up about one-third of the church’s clergy but were not allowed to assume senior roles. A similar measure to approve female bishops failed by six votes in 2012. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the vote embraced “a new way of being the church” and vowed to “continue to seek
   
‘I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: You need to get out of Ukraine.’ Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper when Russian President Vladimir Putin approached him for a handshake at a G20 summit in Australia. Putin, who told Harper his troops aren’t in Ukraine, received other icy receptions and left the economic summit early. ‘No one in this room will be alive at the end of this war.’ Commander,
   
Auto alternate  In April, Iran slashed state fuel subsidies. Ever since, Iranian citizens unaccustomed to paying high prices for gasoline have been searching for alternative means of transportation. According to a report in Iran’s Persian-language newspaper Khordad , the scramble for substitutes has led Iranians back to an ancient source of locomotion: donkeys. Iranian villagers are parking their motorcycles and paying about $20 for a good donkey and making plans to keep them
   
VeggieTales makes a comeback on Netflix with permission to use the ‘God’ word
   
Few things are more uncomfortable than watching a full five-minute scene of two muscled grown men in tights entangled in a tango of hugs, tugs, tumbles, and grunts. That’s a warm-up exercise between two wrestling-champion brothers in Foxcatcher —and a prelude to all the uneasy tension and unspoken emotions to follow.  Foxcatcher , rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence, is a true-crime drama that unfolds like a slow-motion horror movie. Director Bennett Miller dims the
   
 
   
 
   
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